Stop Selling Women Bullshit Dressed As Empowerment

Women need to be empowered.
Women need to work on self-love.
Women need to work on self-care.
Women need to listen to their intuition.
Women need to make better decisions.
Women need to respect themselves more.
Women need to get in formation.
Women need to take responsibility.

Has anyone stopped and asked why women need to do all of these things?

Has anyone questioned why "women's empowerment" is now actually a business?

Has anyone asked what women need to get "empowered" from?

All of these answers lie in what has long been a system used to uplift male/masculine qualities while oppressing anything that is counter to that narrative.

Yep, I'm talking about patriarchy.

Now, I've been writing, reading, and talking a lot about patriarchy lately and some people are tired of it.

Ask me if I care?

What I care about is not being oppressed. What I care about is having the ability to be a fully actualized human being, and that can't and won't happen if we pretend like patriarchy doesn't exist.

Like bell hooks says, "patriarchy has no gender," so while patriarchy favors and uplifts males and masculine authority above everything else, some women are under the patriarchy spell as well, and they help to keep the system running smoothly.

When I look at culture now, women are inundated with messages of how to work on ourselves. We are constantly being sold to. We are constantly being told that there's just one more thing we need to improve to get the reprieve and respect we wholeheartedly deserve.

Oh, your husband cheated on you? Well, how did you contribute to that - you need to do the inner work to figure out how to not let that happen again.

Oh, you were in a relationship with a fuckboy who treated you like garbage? Well, look at your patterns, so you don't get screwed over again.

Oh, you're a single mom? Well, you didn't pay attention to the signs that he wouldn't stay around - you've made your bed now lay in it.

Oh, you can't find a suitable partner? Well, maybe you should shift your perspective and stand in your power.

I call bullshit.

Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

Essentially what we've done is repackaged patriarchy as empowerment in the hopes that women buy it and shut the fuck up and simmer the fuck down.

We've created this system where women are now doing so much self-work we don't have time to really focus on the system that requires us to do all the self-work - so how do tear down the system?

We don't.

If we are constantly told we have work to do, if we are constantly feeling like we could have done better, if we are constantly the ones being held responsible - who benefits from that? Not us that's for damn sure.

We are in this vicious cycle where we are told to get empowered, so we do. We are told to work on our boundaries, so we do. We are told we need to learn self-care, so we do. We are told to stand in our power, so we do. We become masters at all these things, and more, and emerge from our schooling all bright eyed and bushy tailed only to have the wind knocked out of us because we changed but that's about it.

So when the promise of mutual respect, love, pay, treatment, and a whole host of other things are broken - even though you did the work - what does that mean?

Well, our new empowerment, self-love culture would like to tell you to keep working on you, because clearly, you haven't done enough work. Clearly, there are still rocks you need to uncover to find out why you're getting the things you want.

And this is exactly where patriarchy wants you - in the space of continual inward facing action so you can't see what the real problem is. It's a trick as old as time.

And I'm here to tell you if you keep that mindset that it's you and adopt it as your own, patriarchy will continue to eat you alive.

Yes, work on you but don't fall for the trick that "it's you" because in doing so the system is actually doing its job by keeping you unfocused on smashing it.

So don't do that. Challenge the system.

Question any and all things that are created to keep male domination superior, question any and all things that keep playing on the notion that there are gendered specific roles, question any and all things that make you second guess yourself, even when you know you've done the work.

And don't be quiet about it. Make noise. Talk shit. Keep being a sounding board, so people understand you've had enough.

There has to enough of us who have had enough to make change.

There has to be enough of us who are sick of being given scraps.

There has to be enough of us who are tired of being empowered and more concerned with destroying the system that requires us to be empowered.


Toi Smith